Looks to triple its service, retail presence this year

In a bid to capture a larger market share of the growing smartphone market in India, Taiwanese device maker HTC has prepared a blueprint to ramp up its marketing presence in the market.

The company plans to make available its phones in over 11,000 outlets against 3,000 outlets at present. It is also tripling the number of after sales service centres to 450 from about 150 now.

“India is on its way to become the third largest smartphone market in the world and HTC wants to take a 25 per cent share over the next 18 months,” Faisal Siddiqui, Country Head, HTC India, told Business Line.

HTC claims to have six per cent market share of the highly competitive smartphone market dominated by Samsung and Nokia. In addition to these brands, there are other players, including BlackBerry and Lenovo, also eye a piece of the smartphone market.

But Siddiqui said he is confident of making a dent into the market. “In January 2012, we just had 2.4 per cent share of the market which we have grown to 6 per cent. Feedback from market says that we make the best smartphone but we have to go and tell that story better to the consumers. We are not doing that now as much as we would like to but we are changing this by investing more into marketing and distribution,” said Siddiqui.

Over the next year, HTC wants to expand its presence to beyond 35 top cities in order to reach out to a larger universe. The phone maker launched about 10-12 phones last year ranging from Rs 11,000 to Rs 38,000. Going forward, it plans to launch about two new phones a quarter on Android and Windows platforms.

No tablet foray

Siddiqui said that HTC has no plans to enter the tablet space as the market there is hyper competitive. “We need a compelling USP which sets it apart from others. We want to stay focussed on smartphone. It’s a big enough job in itself,” he said. HTC also plans to launch LTE phone in the country once the network is in place.

The Taiwanese smartphone maker is increasingly shifting its focus more towards emerging markets as it grapples with slumping revenue. HTC gave a disappointing outlook on Monday for first-quarter revenue, saying it would be flat to 17 per cent lower than in the previous three months.

Thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 4, 2013)
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